Kennett schools to participate in backpack food program

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A new program will soon be piloted through Masterson and South Elementary Schools in the Kennett School District as a way to provide nutritional meals to area families during the weekends.

According to South Elementary School Counselor Jennifer Nigut, the Backpack Program is designed to "provide a backpack filled with nutritious food every weekend during the school year for children in our community."

Nigut said each backpack will contain enough food for two breakfasts, four lunches and/or dinners, and two snacks.

"All food in the Backpack Program are prepackaged into individual servings," Nigut said."Everything is ready to eat and does not require refrigeration or heating."

Nigut said the program will be piloted through five families in the district. Depending on the success, she hopes to roll the program out to more families during the next school year. The families selected for the program will be sent a letter asking if they wish to participate.

For those who do participate, Nigut said each Friday, the child will be given a backpack filled with a variety of food. On Monday morning, the child would be required to return the backpack to the counselor's office to prepare for the next week.

Nigut said she is currently seeking support from local churches and organizations to help fill the backpacks, with the first food drive being held by Family Counseling Center, Inc., in January.

According to center representative Jill Rickman, the counseling center decided to host a food drive after hearing Nigut present the program to the local Kiwanis club.

Rickman said center held a site competition January 11-22, raising more than 2,400 food items from the list provided by the school.

According to Nigut, the school is seeking items such as tuna salad lunch kits, chicken salad lunch kits, VanCamp's Beanee Weenee, V-8 fruit fusion drinks, quart or gallon sized bags, shelf-stable milk drink boxes, small bottled waters, Jif to Go peanut butter cups, 100 percent juice boxes, individual sized cereal boxes, fruit cups, raisins, and Vienna sausages.

For more information on the program or to see how your organization can help, contact Jennifer Nigut at (573) 717-1135, Jane Cook at (573) 344-0576, or Valerie Turner at (573) 717-1115.

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